The number of active cases of Covid-19 in South Africa now stands at 24,551, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, has announced.
This as 1.898 New Covid-19 cases have been identified in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases to 3,681,437. This increase represents a positivity rate of 6.3%.
The majority of new cases today come from Gauteng Province (37%), followed by Western Cape (22%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 17%, Free State and Mpumalanga each accounted for 6% respectively; Limpopo and North West each accounted for 4% respectively; Eastern Cape accounted for 3%; and Northern Cape accounted for 1%, respectively, of today’s new cases.
“Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of reported Covid-19 deaths. Today, the NDoH reports 18 deaths, of which 2 occurred in the past 24-48 hours. This brings the total number of fatalities to 99,517 until now,” said the NICD.
23,196,880 tests have been conducted in both the public and private sectors.
There is an increase of 60 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
Despite there being no increase in the severity of Covid-19 cases and an encouraging positivity rate, infections are not declining as hoped.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the department had hoped for a positivity rate of less than 5% by the end of February.
South Africa’s current positivity rate is 7%.
He reported spikes of infection in several districts and a frustrating plateau rather than a flattening of the virus treatment.
Vaccination figures are losing pace
The pace at which the vaccinations are being administered is also not what Phaahla had hoped for, according to the department. Up to 70,000 doses per day were administered, which has only recently risen to over 100,000.
More than 31 million doses were administered Thursday night, representing just over 19 million adults. 48% of the adult population has received at least one shot.
Phaahla expressed concern that the 70% target for population immunity had still not been met, noting that the 18-34 age group is still lagging far behind, at just 34% currently.
Without 70% of the population being vaccinated, we cannot fully integrate with the world, Phaahla continued.
The country has the stock and capacity to get to 70%, but too few new people are vaccinated.
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Additional reporting by Nica Richards